In_Depth #5

Ever since changing my in-depth topic to skateboarding, I’ve been pressured by the short amount of time I have left. There are less than two months until in-depth night so it’s been my goal to practice every day and get to a skill level I am happy with at the end.

During my spring break in China, I didn’t anticipate the horrible WIFI at the places I was staying. Even with a VPN, I was unable to send any emails to Canada. My plan was to find a mentor by the end of spring break but now with the two-week setback, I’m even more concerned for my lack of time. Since coming back from China, I’ve contacted Zumiez, Menu Skate Shop, and a Poco Youth Skateboard instructor. I sent off mentorship request emails as soon as I returned home. After visiting the Zumiez store at the Coquitlam mall on Sunday, I talked with the store manager who received my email. He informed his employees about my request and unfortunately, most of them live in Maple Ridge which is inconvenient for regular meetups. He hasn’t talked to everyone yet but when he does or if anyone is interested, he told me ill be contacted ASAP. As for Menu Skate Shop, they are stationed in Gastown which I have been unable to visit during the past week. There has been no reply from them via email. The Poco Youth Instructor is one of the skateboard program leaders at RailsSide Skatepark. As a volunteer for Port Coquitlam, it would be helpful if one of their staff were my mentor. My last option will be getting a private instructor and paying money for weekly lessons. If I still don’t have a mentor established by next week, then I will have to find an instructor.


I purchased my skateboard in China and here are a few details about it.

–    Deck size 8” and made of 7 layers of Maplewood

–    Trucks and bushings are loose for ease of riding

–    Wheels are 98A and 55mm

Take a look at my board in the videos below!

For the past week ever since getting back from spring break, I’ve been working on my balance and feet placement when riding. Being able to ride comfortably on a skateboard is the most basic skill I can work on by myself. Skateboarders are either Goofy or Normal. I am Normal, meaning my left foot is the front and my right is the back when riding forwards.

Here is how to step onto a skateboard + tilting to turn

stepping onto skateboard

–    My left leg steps onto the front (foot facing forwards)

–    Then my right leg is brought onto the board. Both feet then face towards the side, perpendicular to the skateboard

–    To turn while moving, I tilt side to side



My push offs have gotten a lot smoother and balanced since first starting.


So far, Valerie has been providing great tips and feedback.

Valerie: Your pushing is very good! As you progress, try to keep more of your weight on the foot on the board (left foot) when you take the other foot off to push (right foot). This allows you to go faster because sometimes when the weight is not being controlled by alternating feet, it can slow you down.

The next step would be successfully executing a running start.

running start

despite my friend’s excited “ohh” this was still terrible and far from perfect.



Kickturning is when you balance on your back wheels for a moment and swing the front of your board to a new direction.


kickturn while moving

Valerie: It’s a light touch rather than a stomp. You just put pressure on the back foot to lift the nose (front) of the board up. But in terms of being more comfortable and fluid with it, you really have to move your whole body because if you don’t and only do little shuffles with your feet, it can lead to counter rotation. So after you lift the front of your board up a bit, initiate it with your hips and body rather than JUST the feet. It’s easier to rotate your body and have your feet follow in harmony than forcing it with only your feet.

I still have a lot to work on with kickturns. From Valerie’s feedback, I will work on swinging my arms and moving my whole body when turning. My goal is to be able to do a complete 360-degree spin on the back wheels.



An ollie is the foundation for most skateboard tricks. This is how the movement works:

–    The front foot jumps up first, following up with the back foot pressing down on the tail and having the board hit the ground. This will make the skateboard pop up into the air

–    While in the air, the front foot is positioned at the nose of the board and guiding the whole skateboard parallel to the ground

ollie movement

ollie attempts

An ollie is difficult for beginners. I am estimating at least a week of practice before getting used to the movement and timings of the trick. Next week, I will hopefully have a better video to show you.

Without a mentor, I can unable to provide a conversation using the six hats. But to show my understanding here’s some of my own thinking categorized into the colours.

While Hat: When going downhill, the only way I can stop is by falling/jumping off the board. Tail scraping is going to wear down the back of my board and if I use my foot to scrape the ground, the bottoms will get destroyed. Until I learn how to kickturn stop, I’ll have to make do with throwing myself off the board.

Red Hat: Kickturns look so easy but why is it so frustrating for me.

Black Hat: I either don’t lift the board enough or I lift it too much [when kickturning]. I have to find that “in-between”.

Yellow Hat: Hey, at least I haven’t broken any part of my body.

Blue Hat: I’ll work on my balance and foot placement on the grass first, then move onto cement.

Skateboarding has been really fun I don’t regret changing my in-depth topic. My goals for next week are to perfect kickturns, try out some more easy tricks from YouTube, and to gain more confidence on the board. See you next blog post!

In-Depth #5

The First Garment

Over the past month, I’ve had a lot of time to do research and learn a bit more about my topic. I’m starting to figure out the final garments I want to make for In-Depth. In addition to the bandeau top my mentor and I are discussing below, I’m going to be making two t-shirts and another top. If I can, I want to attempt making a bottom. Ms. Learmonth has told me that they can be quite difficult for beginners, but I’d love to try. I haven’t had a ton of time to meet with Ms. Learmonth not only because of my own busy schedule but due to musical theatre’s many performances. She’s had to focus more on the stage tech for the plays and hasn’t been as readily available as before Spring Break. Nevertheless, I met with her afterschool during costume design this past week to discuss my first garment.


The beginning of the bandeau top:



Ms. Learmonth: So what are you planning to do? What exactly do you want to achieve by the end of this project?

Me: I’d like to create a few garments. At least a few tops and maybe a bottom? I’m not completely sure at this stage.

Ms. Learmonth: Typically, beginners start with skirts. They’re the most simple and don’t take very much expertise or knowledge to begin.

White Hat: If you look at beginner sewing lessons, they typically consist of skirts and pillows. The pattern for a general skirt is relatively simple, just a half circle with space cut out for the waist. The lack of components to the pattern makes it an ideal starting point for people who want to learn to sew

Me: I don’t really have the fabric for a skirt. Could I maybe make a bandeau instead?

Ms. Learmonth: Like a strapless top? Sure. We have elastic bands in the costume design room.

Me: I think I know how to add an elastic band. I’ve seen it enough times in my own clothes that I think I could replicate it, but I’ll check some online videos to make sure.

Ms. Learmonth: That’s great! See if you can find leftover fabric in the bins to use. Is there anything in particular you want to do for the bandeau? Add ruffles, or make it textured?

Green Hat: Ms. Learmonth is asking me about possibilities for variation in my garment by suggesting creative details I could add to make the bandeau top unique.

Me: I don’t think I’m going to do anything like that for my first one, no. I’m not sure I want to try anything like that until I get the basics down. What exactly do you mean by textured?

Black Hat: Here, I think that any embellishments to the garment might distract me from understanding the basics and focusing on the quality of the stitches. I don’t like the idea of adding ruffles or texture, so I’m expressing it in a productive way to my mentor. By assessing my abilities I know whether or not I can handle the suggestions.

White Hat: I’m missing information to understand my mentor’s question, so I’m probing further to fully understand.

Ms. Learmonth: I have to run out, but Zora can explain. She’s actually just about to add an elastic band to the skirt she’s doing, so you can watch her. Feel free to ask anyone for help!

Me: Thanks, Ms. Learmonth. Bye!


In Depth Post #5

Record a short section of conversation between you and your mentor. Transcribe the conversation. Identify the different hats in the conversation.

The last lecture I went to was on Forensic Biology. This is the study of biological substances, like hair, blood, saliva, and so on. The lecture was an hour and a half, so I will put in sections of my notes that exemplify the different hats.


White hat:

What do we know?

One of the topics Dr. Warren touched on was the study of hair. Here are the notes for this section:


  • Class characteristics
    • Shed everywhere
    • Shed all the time
    • Miscarriages of justice possible- hair misidentified, science is not exact
      • Evidence not consistent (human vs. animal hair, DNA extraction not possible)
      • Now only used as corroborating evidence

The entire study of forensic biology is identifying what we know and gathering evidence, then using proven techniques to establish and corroborate facts.

What do we need to know?

One method Dr. Warren touched on was using different indicators to identify blood. Something that I found very interesting was that these indicators (Luminol, Bluestar) glow because of the iron in blood, and false positives are possible if other iron-rich materials are present, so it is important to always corroborate this test with another, confirmatory test. So, we always need to know whether the presumptive test that was used is correct.

  • Presumptive
    • Luminol
    • Haemastix
      • Turns green with blood
        • False positives
          • Bleach rust
        • Interferes with DNA analysis
    • Bluestar
      • Okay with DNA
    • Kastle Meyer/ phenophalene
  • Confirmatory test
    • Only haemachromagen test
    • No false positives
    • Chemicals added to blood sample
    • Turns into crystals
    • Still don’t know what type of blood it is
      • Animal?
      • Human?
    • Precipitin test
    • Commercially available anti-sera
    • Old- blood type
    • DNA testing as of 1985
      • First brought into court
      • Lester, England

What is missing?

Something that was interesting that Dr. Warren talked about was the possibility of false positives with PCR because of the amplification of the DNA. I found it interesting because we don’t have a way to check whether it has been contaminated once run through the machine, and we can only take steps during the collection process to try and minimize this risk.

What questions should we ask?

  • When was the crime committed?
  • How did the crime occur?
  • What happened (classification)?
  • Why (Motive)?
  • Who (DNA evidence, suspect)?
  • Where (secondary location)?

How might we get the information we need?

We can gain the information we need through a variety of presumptive tests, which we in turn corroborate with a confirmatory test. This is true for any biological fluid, including blood. The presumptive test is run first, then the sample is sent off to another lab where a confirmatory test is run.

Red Hat:

Dr. Warren talked about a specific case where the police officers had only used a presumptive test and their intuition to convict an innocent person. She warned us of the dangers of assuming without corroborating our evidence.

  • Might be blood
    • Dingo baby case
      • Australia
        • Family camping in Australia
        • Dingo running out tent with baby in mouth
          • Mother accused of murdering baby
            • Killed baby with nail scissors(?)
              • While everyone was out looking for baby
              • Got rid of body
                • Only used a presumptive test
                • Need to use a confirmatory test
              • Baby’s jacket found in Dingo’s lair
                • Disrupted life
                • Car glowed when sprayed with luminol
                  • because of Iron filings

Black Hat

The black hat is especially important because it can be used to turn a critical eye over any evidence, which is very important to ensure that the evidence is accurate and as presise as possible. One of the tests Dr. Warren talked about was hair analysis, and the limits of it. For example, DNA can only be extracted from hair if it still has the bulb at the base of the hair, because this is the living part. You also need anywhere from 80-100 pulled scalp hairs to precisely determine the person who the hair belonged to, so there are limits to using hairs to prove/disprove a suspect’s involvement. Also, before DNA was used, foresnic scientists used to examine the cuticle and medula, and this led to a couple of wrongful convictions, so it is always important to be critical when using hair as evidence.

    • Not consistent with donor
    • Contained too few hairs?
  • Negative
    • Consistent with donor
  • Positive
    • Comparison sample needed
      • Suspect and victim
        • Need some from victim
          • What if they are from the victim
    • Adequate sample required
      • 80-100 PULLED scalp hairs
      • 30-50 PULLED pubic hairs
      • From all over region
        • Temples vs. Back of head
        • Comparison sample
      • Collect from
        • Partners, victims
  • Hair Collection
  • Hair is considered class evidence
    • Except with tag
      • Loose, extraneous hairs are class evidence

Yellow Hat:

This hat was used to explain the value in using confirmatory tests in addition to presumptive tests. This goes along with the red hat, as value is found in having a correct conviction and ensuring innocent people don’t go to jail. Standardized protocol is used to ensure preservation of this hat.

Green Hat:

This hat was used when Dr. Warren talked about the career path to become a specialist, specifically a forensic biologist.

  • Civilian Scientists
    • B.Sc. (Hon.)
  • Technicians
    • Evidence Recovery Unit (a lab)
      • Evidence Recovery Unit

        • Search technologists
        • Locate and recover important evidence
        • Everyone starts here
        • Presumptive tests
          • Blood? Or other iron rich substance?
      • In lab
        • T-shirt (with blood on it)
          • Blood (possibly) sample cut out
            • Sent to specialist
  • PCR Analyst (3-5 years past evidence recovery unit)
    • Extract DNA
  • Specialist
    • Testify in court
    • Biology reporting office
      • Stats, probability
      • Likelihood of someone matching this sample
  • If no honors –  remain at the level of technician

Blue Hat: This hat was in use when Dr. Warren outlined Forensic Biology at the beginning of the lesson.

  • Biological fluids
    • Hair
    • Tissues
    • Blood, saliva, etc.
  • Human?
    • Can it be individualized?
      • Who?
  • In past- class evidence
    • Hair
    • Use DNA now
  • Present- now use DNA as prefered method of corroboration

Canada: a country or a nation

Canada with all its differences aside holds a sense of unity, bringing us together as a country with many nations. We as a whole are too wide spread and have too many different morals and values to be able to stand as a nation. One of Canada’s key virtues is holding a sense of cultures from around the world due to how openhearted we are. Many people are thankful that “being Canadian is like being […] big family” (Macdonald, 2016) because it gives them a sense of belonging that they couldn’t get in their home countries. We have such a diverse demographic within our borders. The concept of post-nationalism means that the individual nations lose their importance and identity. Canada’s nation holds a large part in our identity. We have the “French-speaking province of Quebec already constitutes one distinctive nation, as do the 50-plus First Nations spread across the country” (The Guardian, 2017) plus all of the immigrants and refugees. With each person crossing Canada’s borders and calling it home, they bring in a fraction of culture with them to build towards the bigger picture, what consists of Canadian identity. However, this concept of Canadian identity differs for all. Canada, in terms of land mass, is the third biggest countries. We touch three separate oceans. On this land lies so many different nations that its impossible for us to be one whole nation. There’s a difference between patriotism and nationalism. In this scenario “patriotism is what makes us behave unselfishly” (Hannan, 2016). All Canadians follow a set of laws which allow them to live freely, practicing their own customs and religion. Which means we have such a diverse community its impossible for us to all be on the same page unless its on a rule book. To build off of that “Healthy nationalism encourages diverse people to cooperate” (Vancouver Sun, 2016), so Trudeau’s idea might be more obscured than it sounds.Therefore, although Canada respects and welcomes people of all different nations, we ourselves are not a nation and merely borders of a country that encompass different cultures.

in-depth v2.4

So far my in-depth progress has gone by well. I have learned a few new tactics but have mostly been working on some of the pieces that I want to have completed. Here is one of the concepts I have found new and interesting.

When illustrating objects that provide a reflection of some sort (lips, glasses, etc.), something important to note is how to properly shade them in. For example, when illustrating glasses in one of my images, I would leave out blank spaces and shade the outside of where the illustrated line would be, to provide some sort of contrast. This is to allow for the image to pop out rather than simply being bland and 2d.

(Incomplete image of Dwight Schrute)

As of now I am currently working on my piece based around a person’s face. In this case, I have decided to choose a popular TV persona, “Dwight Schrute” or the actor “Rainn Wilson,” mostly to provide myself with a challenge. I will go more in-depth into why it is more challenging than normal.

How to have a beautiful mind:

Much like everyone else, I will be attaching colours to my different hats:

Blue, red, black, white, yellow, and green.

To provide some context, I had finished my prior piece and felt rather accomplished finishing it. I decided to begin on the illustration of a person’s face and was already wanting to illustrate “Dwight Schrute.”

Grace: Hey Kevin, have you completed your piece from the last meeting?

Me: Yes.

Grace: What are piece are you planning to create next?

Me: I was wondering if I should start drawing a person’s face with ink pen now? I feel experienced enough to and I had a person in mind.

Grace: Sketching people’s facial features can be difficult, especially with ink pen. However, I believe with your progress so far you should do well. You have already sketched people and faces with pencil before, and you seem to be learning quickly.

As soon as our mentoring session began my mentor established the progress I had made and the next tasks needed. She used the blue hat to make sure I was able to accomplish as much as I can with the time I had. After providing my ideas for what was to come next, Grace put on two hats at once, the red and yellow. She provided some background detail as to why she would normally be hesitant, but then proceeded to use the red hat to show her belief in my progress. The yellow hat came soon after, supporting me with her prior knowledge and logical reasoning as to why she knew I was ready. I then proposed my person to her, “Dwight Schrute” or “Rainn Wilson,” showing her on my phone.

Me: I was thinking about drawing this person next.

Grace: Hmm. His head and facial features seem to be shaped strangely, which may make it more challenging. You may have difficulty illustrating his glasses, as well as him as a whole. 

Me: I see what you mean, but I think it would be a good challenge. I believe that I’m able to do it after my experience sketching in pencil.

In this conversation, Grace provided a valid argument. She did not state that I could not do it, only that it would be challenging, providing some details behind her argument. She used the black hat to think critically about the outcome and to make sure I understood the potential issues that may arise. However, I trusted my artistic ability and brought back my experience, using the yellow hat for myself this time. 

(Later when sketching the face)

Me: Excuse me Grace, how would I make the glasses look more realistic? They look dull outlined in pencil.

Grace: Oh, it is important to avoid just drawing the glasses. Instead, to provide a more crisp and realistic look, you highlight the darker inner edges and leave the brighter areas behind.


In this situation, I put on the green hat, inquiring about how to illustrate something I had never done before. I wanted to know the best way to illustrate them in order for them to look realistic.

(Later when asking about sketching lips)

Grace: The lips of a person always have a reflection on them. Not only when there is light shining onto their face, but as well as when it is bouncing off of the upper lip onto the lower lip.

The white hat was a simpler hat to wear, but it is one of the most important. I didn’t pay much attention as to why certain areas were brighter than others, even though both were submerged in shade, but it helped me realize that this occurs a lot in artwork.

That seems to be it for this update. I am pretty proud of my progress and believe that I have done well so far on my individual pieces. It was fun catching up again, adios.

Romeo and Juliet Act ll Critical Response

In Shakespeare’s profound play, Romeo and Juliet, we are introduced to two “completely in love” protagonists who believe they are deeply in love with each other. With the evidence provided so far, I believe that Romeo and Juliet’s relationship resembles more of a “puppy love” connection. In the first act, Romeo and Juliet meet one another at a party and as soon as Romeo lays his eyes upon Juliet, he suddenly forgets all about Rosaline and becomes “star-crossed lovers” (Prologue.6). Firstly, Romeo has absolutely no idea the real meaning of love as he is solely basing his love for both Rosaline and Juliet on how beautiful they are. This is already solid proof that Romeo is not fully in love with Juliet quite yet. Romeo is also hopping from one girl to another. After he goes to the Capulet party just to see Rosaline, Romeo meets Juliet and says “  Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night” (l. 5. 52-53).On Juliet’s view of love, we see more maturity than we will probably never see in Romeo. She tends to process her feelings in situations a lot better than Romeo but soon starts to lose focus of her own personality. She begins to fall head over heels for Romeo and ends up making quite similar mistakes.


I believe that Kulich’s holds a very strong argument and is quite effective as its historically accurate for the time the play was written. Romeo and Juliet was written late 15th century in England and back in those times, there were no rules, restrictions or laws against underage marriage. In today’s society, we look down on Elizabethans for there particularly cruel ways of living. But put yourself back 500 years, and it would be completely normal. Looking at this idea as a whole, it is quite difficult to judge our history because our morals change drastically the more we live and the more life experiences we get.


indepth #5

Progress Update: Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked with my mentor about different styles and approaches to ikebana. Recently, I have worked on an ikebana which is actually inside a fish tank. My mentor believes that ikebana should not be restricted to only flowers, albeit flowers make up a great portion of the art. In fact, the transcript of conversation you will see is related to this. This piece of ikebana which I titled “Seascape” both because it is a portrayal of sea-related items as well as it is a sort of escape from the real world and into this tiny universe.

I used these green and blue pebbles because they remind me of the ocean with the sort of tiny and grainy pebbles that you would see on the beach as well as marine colours. Seashells and luminescent orbs further fuel this feeling and bring  one’s senses to the scene of the water just past the serene beach. The presence of the aquatic plant makes one feel like their in shallow water as the plant is so small yet so close. The pussywillows are unrelated to the ocean scenery but give off the vibe that their is a presence watching over and is a nod to the heavens in ikebana.

Conversation Transcript:

Me (Black hat): I thought in the school of ikenobo you don’t use any items that isn’t natural?

Mentor (Green hat): Although the ikenobo school may be strict like that, I don’t think ikebana should be restricted by purely flowers. Although I am not part of the very modern schools that use paperclips and wires, I think that using manmade items may add value to the art.

Me (Yellow hat): That makes sense because I also feel that an aquarium ikebana would be really cool and I don’t think we should restrict our creativity because of those rules especially when other schools do.

Mentor (Red hat): Exactly, ikebana is an art and restricting the medium too much can ruin the creative mind.

Mentor (White hat): Although, rules still serve a purpose and they should be respected to an extent.

Me (Red hat): That feels right to me. After all, if no one is willing to break a few rules then a lot of people’s art would be restricted.

Mentor (Yellow hat): Now that you’ve understood that. Let’s get to work on this aquarium ikebana.

In-Depth BP #5

I set a countdown on my phone and guess what! There’s only four million more seconds until indepth night! Now it looks like a lot but actually, it’s only 50 days. Honestly, I am so excited but quite nervous. I really want my photos to come out decent so I can make a published album and for that to happen I need some good weather. So whoever reads this, please pray for me! Just before spring break I met with Ms. Learmonth and she showed me how to enlarge the negatives in the dark room. Kudos to her for falling in love with something that she can teach to other people like me. I can easily tell how much passion she has for Film Photography and I inspire to keep my own passion for as long as possible. Photography is an art that can get you outside and into nature; going on adventures whenever you want!


I also handed in my own film to get professional developed until I can learn on my own and after coming back from my vacation the photos arrived! The suspense of opening the package and just hoping for the photos to turn out good is a feeling that everyone should experience once in their life. Apart from some photos that I took of my dog that came out SUPER out of focus, it was a great first batch! I’m actually really proud of some of the photos, especially because some of the best ones were portraits (something I still need a lot of practice on). I’ve already bought loads more film and bought some colour film as well for more Kodak summer vibes later on in April. I hope the weather cooperates!


*I have not had a meeting with my mentor last week but will have one this week and this post will be updated with the recorded conversation*

In-Depth Post #5

We’re already in April.

Needless to say, I have been getting some progress done even though I couldn’t meet with my mentor many times due to her personal circumstances.

Thankfully, the uke isn’t a terribly difficult thing to practice. I have been doing a lot of independent work. I found time to practice every single day during spring break! Here is a list of some of the things I have learned/practised on my own.

-Smoothening Chord Transitions, Especially G, D7, Am, C7 transitions (will explain later)

-Explored and learned what hand position is the most comfortable for me (using my thumb)

-Explored different strum patterns and chose one to practice for in-depth night (up-down-up-chuck)

-Learned how to somewhat “chuck”

-Chose a song to perform for in-depth night

-Learned a riff:


(And learned how to read written forms of riffs like the above)


So to summarize all of this, I have been trying to figure out what I should do for in-depth night as the time is near. I wanted to find a song to perform. I explored some songs online and tried to find a song that is not too basic and simple but isn’t too hard either. After days of searching, I settled on a song called “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson. This song primarily uses the chords G, D7, Am, and C7, with D, Bm, Em, and C in the hook of the song (which I need to meet with Hira personally for her to help me with it.) I have been working on the transitions that I need to do for most of the song, so I have a basic outline to work with when I meet with Hira again. Hira suggested that I do not use a pick on the ukulele as I can create a very rough sound with one. She suggested either index finger or thumb, so I practiced around with both and later found myself only using my thumb, which is totally fine (quoting Hira here). There are many strum patterns that fit different songs, but for this specific song, up-down-up-chuck works best. Chucking is when you strum all of the strings and mute them so quickly in one swift motion that it makes a percussion sound. I need help with this. The riff above is an essential part of the song I want to perform. I learned how to read riffs on printed text, and I learned that specific one. Here is a video of me doing it.


As for hats, I couldn’t really meet with Hira because she’s extremely busy and was out of the country, but I tried my best to make out at least one for each.


White hat:

Hira: So we need to create a performance for actual in-depth night. What would you like to do?

Me: Well, I know I enjoy singing. I do not mind doing a ukulele performance with singing accompanied.

Hira: That’s great! I can teach you to do that. It is another skill, singing while playing, so that is what we need to learn from now on. I am busy, so in the meantime, here is a link to strumming patterns and a great self-learning website you can look through.

Me: Thanks! I will look into it.


Red hat:

Me: This is what my riff sounds like so far. It sounds extremely rough to me and I do not like it.

Hira: It sounds great! The reason it sounds rough to you is because the strings on your ukulele rings, but that is a quality issue so we can’t do anything about it.

Me: I am thinking about investing in a better one.

Hira: Good idea! Try Tom Lee, the music store.


Black hat:

Hira: When you’re choosing a song, I don’t want it to be too challenging or have too many chords in it. Because we have limited time together and in-depth night is coming soon, we have to settle on a reasonable song.

Me: Yes, I agree. I will look into a reasonable piece.


Other hats are not very applicable as I am yet to meet with Hira to learn more and have assistance in areas that I identified that I had trouble with. However, as soon as we meet again, I will have so many more things to show for in-depth night!


(I have used a good fraction of my paycheck last night to invest in a slightly better ukulele. I am crossing my fingers that the strings do not ring so much so I can actually chuck the strings instead of making a hideous sound.)





In-Depth Blog Post #5

Progress Review:

This week I am developing a new project that includes vocal recordings. I have created the track that will accompany the vocals, and I am organizing to record the vocals this week in my mentor’s studio. Sarah F. has agreed to sing for this project, so I will be recording her vocals and then editing them and adding them to my project. I have attached a link to the background track that I created this week.

I was quite disappointed with my last project; it didn’t come together quite how I wanted it to. That being said, I am extremely proud of this new project so far because I feel as though I have implemented more of my skills to create a more complicated and accurate sounding cover of ‘Something Just Like This’ by the Chainsmokers and Coldplay. I wanted to try using GarageBand in a slightly different format, so I created this project on my iPhone. I found this much easier than using my laptop. It’s much easier to make simple adjustments, and the instruments and loops are much easier to find. I focused especially on finetuning each recording to sound as close to the original recording of the song as possible.

This week I have also been researching how to implement vocals into GarageBand projects in preparation for my recording session with Sarah. I’ve learned about some of the most effective ways to create a portable system that helps isolate your voice from the reflections bouncing off the walls. I also learned a lot about gain staging. Gain is the ratio of the output of your recorded voice, to the input of your recorded voice. There’s a minimum and maximum range of gain before the quality of your recording becomes extremely poor. This range exists at every stage of recording. It’s important to stay within the proper range at every stage to maintain a professional quality recording.

I will be posting the final version of this project later this week, but here is the finalized copy of the backtrack:‘Something Just Like This’ Backtrack

How to Have a Beautiful Mind:

During my last meeting with my mentor, I was careful in trying to pay attention to the different hats that my mentor was using so that I could try and use the same hat. I found that this parallel thinking helped me understand the way my mentor was thinking about a situation and allowed me to get more out of our discussions. This is the conversation that I recorded with my mentor. She was teaching me about what gain staging is and how to use is effectively. Within the transcript I have made notes about which hats are being used and why:


Me: While I was researching different techniques for recording vocal tracks for GarageBand I found some articles about gains staging. I was wondering if you could show me how to use gain staging effectively?

Adrienne: Sure. Let’s go over the basic ways to use gain staging and then I’ll show you some examples from some of my old projects.

During this part of the conversation, my mentor and I both used the blue hat. I defined the focus of the conversation by asking about gain staging, and my mentor set up a sequence of hats by explaining how she was going to teach me about it.

Adrienne: So, gain staging is basically the process of managing and adjusting the volume of any track in your project, but we’re going to be practicing gain staging vocal recordings.

Me: Ok. When I’m adjusting the volume of my instrumental tracks, I can just adjust the volume lever left or right to make it louder or softer. How is adjusting the volume of vocals different?

During this part of the conversation, I realized that my mentor was ‘wearing’ a white hat. When she explained what gain staging is, she was telling me a hard fact. She also explained how I’m going to get the information I need when she said that we were going to practice gain staging on vocal recordings. When I realized what hat she was using, I decided to add to the conversation by stating what I know, which is how to adjust the volume of regular instrumental tracks. I then asked a question related to the information that I need to know, which is how gain staging works in vocal recordings specifically.

Adrienne: It’s different because there are more variable that need to be adjusted. This is where a lot of people mess up when making GarageBand projects. It’s easy to just start twisting random knobs until you think the vocals sound right. This usually screws up your gain staging and will lead to your project sounding less clean or professional.

Me: Yeah, when I was just starting to learn how to adjust the resonance and echo or the treble and bass of the tracks in my projects I did that as well. In my opinion that strategy doesn’t work very well at all.

I think that this part of our conversation used both red and black hats. My mentor was using a black hat to point out potential problems for using gain staging. Additionally, we were both using our red hats because the information we were sharing was based on intuition. Adrienne believed that many people are tempted to change the volume settings ‘randomly’ until they find something that sounds right. She used her intuition and emotion to say that this wouldn’t be the most effective strategy. Additionally, I used my emotions and past experience to agree with her statement.

Adrienne: The idea of gain staging can seem really complicated to beginners, but it’s actually quite simple if you compare it to pixels on your TV or phone screen. When you record quietly, you will have to turn up the volume later on in your project. This is just like saving a really tiny image and then stretching it out onto your TV screen.

Me: It’s going to be blurry and out of focus.

Adrienne: Right. So how would you fix this problem?

Me: I’d save the image at the right size initially so that I don’t have to stretch it later.

Adrienne: Exactly. This is why it’s important to record your vocal tracks at the right volume first so that you don’t need to make any major adjustments later.

I believe that this conversation was using the green hat. The green hat helps with creativity, and my mentor’s use of this interesting analogy allowed me to see gain staging from a different perspective. I also think that this conversation used the yellow hat, because Adrienne’s TV metaphor showed me the value of recording with proper audio. Furthermore, it explained why recording with the right volume is so important for gain staging.

From this conversation I learned that there are so many different ‘hats’ that are used in one conversation. I also learned that multiple hats can be worn at once and may be more effective when they are worn together. I believe that recognizing that hats that other people are wearing during your conversations with them is very enlightening and allows for you to adapt your own style of communication to compliment theirs.